Sanyo’s Innovation, Technology and Design

These are the main ingredients of the recipe that has led the SANYO brand to a prominent position on the world stage with its state-of-the-art televisions, projectors and mobile phones.

The story

The company was founded on the first day of February 1947 in Moriguchi City, Osaka region, under the name Sanyo Electric Works by Toshio Iue, a former employee of Matsushita and brother-in-law of Konosuke Matsushita, founder of the company that would be known worldwide for the Panasonic brand.

The name “Sanyo” means three oceans in Japanese, and represented the founder’s ambition to market his products throughout the world, across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

In the year of its foundation, with only 12 employees, the new company launched the first dynamo (a kind of power generator) for bicycle lamps. The first exports began in 1949. The company was officially incorporated on April 1, 1950.

Two years later, with the explosion of consumption among the Japanese population in the post-war period, SANYO entered the electronic market with the launch of its first plastic radio. And as early as 1953, it began producing television sets. In 1954 it launched the first pulsator-type washer on the Japanese market, and shortly afterwards, in 1957, the first refrigerators.

The mass production of transistors and the beginning of the commercialization of sound devices, vacuum cleaners and air conditioners started in 1958, increasing even more the offer of products in its line.

At the beginning of the next decade, in 1962, the company started the mass production of TV sets, black and white with remote control, and the following year, as a pioneer in the industry, launched the first radio to use rechargeable batteries. Still this year, SANYO introduced its first microwave oven to the market.

In the following years, besides considerably expanding its international presence, several innovative products were introduced to the market by SANYO as color video recorders in 1971, the first color TV with remote control (1971), the first Litium batteries (1975), the first CD-RW in 1987 and the first digital camera with interactive television in 1996.

With the arrival of the new millennium, SANYO began a diversification in its area of activity with the start of production in 2004 of batteries for electric vehicles. In 2005, the Japanese brand launched the eneloop battery, which already arrived at pre-charged stores ready for immediate use after purchase. In addition, this new generation of batteries can be recharged 1,000 times before replacement.

The following year the Japanese company launched several new products on the market: air conditioners “virus-washer”, which uses a new technology capable of fighting odors, bacteria, viruses and pollens using a container with controlled water and has a range approximately six times greater than a common air purifier; the AQUA washing machine, equipped with an “aqualoop”, which allows to recycle water for future use, and also with the Air Wash, enabling clothes, which are usually dry-cleaned in a laundry, to be washed at home; and the Mini-Gorilla, a satellite navigator (GPS) with digital TV.

After going through a period of long restructuring (almost 15,000 layoffs, 15% of the total and sale of activities), SANYO has in recent years mainly developed products in the environmental, health, hygiene and multimedia entertainment fields. In addition, as part of this major restructuring, the company sold its mobile phone division to Kyocera.

Recently, at the end of 2009, the Japanese Panasonic Group took control of SANYO by paying approximately $4.5 billion. As one of the world’s most powerful brands in the segment of electronic products and rechargeable batteries of various types, SANYO will be able to enjoy the enormous commercial power of Panasonic.

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